Arsenal have been busy this January transfer window with plenty of departures and arrivals as Mikel Arteta looks to shape his squad for the the second half of the season as well as long-term.
The need for a major cull in north London has cast a dark cloud hanging heavy over the Emirates Stadium for longer than just the Spaniard’s reign, the like of which is finally coming into effect.
Before there could be any talk about new arrivals, swathes of misfiring players and general deadwood needed to be shifted.
In that regard, this month has been a success. Looking at it from either viewpoint, Edu Gaspar has had the relatively simple task of cancelling player contracts and paying out the majority of the fees certain stars were owed. Some may argue this is the bare minimum he needed to do and failed in many aspects to not garner fees previously, while equally the mismanagement of former regimes has left him with little wiggle room.
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6 January deals that could still happen for Arsenal before the winter deadline
Sokratis, Mesut Ozil and Matt Macey have all bid permanent farewells to Arsenal, while Sead Kolasinac’s loan move is expected to be made full-time come the end of the season. Financially, for the sake of squad and in terms of reducing squad size, these were all vital.
Such departures opened the door for creative midfield cover in Martin Odegaard, a piece of business among the best Arsenal have made in recent seasons, one that could be rubber stamped if the Real Madrid loanee hits the heights expected of him.
Bernd Leno can’t bear the goalkeeper mantle all by himself, a role he was set to be forced to assume given the weak backup options. Thus, Mat Ryan’s temporary switch from Brighton was shrewd business.
There is still room for more. Both in terms of incomings and outgoings, six deals could come to fruition before the 11PM deadline on February 1st.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles Loan Departure
Coming to light on the eve of the Premier League clash with Manchester United, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has suddenly emerged as an option for two top-flight clubs this window.
Having been convinced to shun summer interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers in favour of staying and fighting for his place in north London, the resulting amount of game time has not been reflective of the wishes of Arteta.
Granted, Maitland-Niles had been used regularly in the Europa League campaign which aided with rotation and other fitness worries, but just five starts in the league has not been what either he, or the club would have preferred.
The truth is that he hasn’t taken his chances when they’ve come, even if they’ve arrived in a variety of positions: no less than five different roles this season.
West Brom are pushing for a loan, as too are a host of other sides. There could even be more that come in but at present the options are battling for relegation in a side whose system is the polar opposite of Arsenal’s, or potentially aiding a team who could rival the Gunners for a European berth. Southampton and Leicester are in the mix.